ACTIVITIES See under this Tab:
1. DEFINING THE 'ATLANTIKWAL'
2. IFC-ACTIVITIES REPORTS
3. ACTIVITIES REPORTS FROM MEMBERS
1. DEFINING THE 'ATLANTIKWALL'
From our Dutch member, the Stichting Menno vcan Coehoorn we received this document, prepared for the "Erfgoedtafel Atlantikwall Zuid-Holland' (Heritage Table province South-Holland), it being the first or at leastone of the first attempots at defining this phenomenon, that covered the coast from northern Norway, through Denmakr, German, Belgium and France.
The Atlantikwall, Definition of a Phenomenon
It might appear that amongst historians and policy makers there is common conception of the Atlantikwall. There are however many interpretations. For this reason, an attempt has been made to approach the Atlantikwall not only as objectively but also functionally.
2. The Atlantikwall in Historical Perspective
There are four discernible phases in the development of the German coastal defences:
Phase 1: Guarding the coastline, defending of key locations (harbours) and invasion preparations (1940-41);
Phase 2: Linear closed defence line against sea-based attacks (late 1941);
Phase 3: Comprehensive closed defence line against sea based and airborne attacks (late 1942-late 1943);
Phase 4: Proactive defence and layered defence lines (late 1943-1944);
b) Prelude (Phase 1)
Guarding of the coastline, defence of key locations (harbours) and invasion preparations (1940-41).
Early June 1940 saw the coastlines of Western Europe from the northern reaches of Norway to southern France in German hands. From then on this coast became the outer reaches of the third Reich. The Wehrmacht kept up, at this point only a primitive guard, as it was still on the advance. Any defences (occasionally bunkers) worth speaking of were placed at key points of strategic interest: ports and harbours on the West European Coast, the Channel Coast and the prestigious Channel Islands; for example. Following their losses at the Battle of Britain coupled with Hitler's expanding Eastern interest, the Wehrmacht gradually began to fill in the forgotten gaps and remote points between their initial strongholds, using radar and artillery positions, thereby slowly forming a series of fortifications along the whole coastline.
c) The Order of 14 December 1941: Die Neue Westwall / the New Westwall (Phase 2)
Linear closed defence line against sea-based attacks (late 1941).
On the 14th of December 1941 Hitler ordered the building of the Neue Westwall and with it came a better picture of the concept for the further expansion of existing strongholds into a sealed defence line “von Eismeer bis zur Biscaya”. This line would protect the important coastal locations, primarily the harbour areas, against enemy attacks from the sea and air, using of course “all available means”.
The defensive concept upon which the Neue Westwall was based, was the assumption that: the robust ability of the defences to take a prolonged pounding would provide sufficient opportunity to provide efficient reinforcements. A challenge, when considering the enormous lengths of coastline to be defended. On the one hand, these principles were dictated by the increased threat of the Allied invasion, and on the other hand by the demand for evermore troops at the Eastern Front. Besides, according to Hitler, the “Neue Westwall” was greatly symbolic and therefore also valuable propaganda. Its realisation turned out to be more challenging and this led to a change of plans.
d) The Benefits of Experience: the Atlantikwall (Phase 3)
Comprehensive closed defence line against sea based and airborne attacks (late 1942-late 1943)
In less than one week of the Atlantikwall-Conference of 13th August 1942 the ill-fated Allied raid on Dieppe took place. It encouraged Hitler's opinion that bomb proof bunkers, a so called Ständige Bunker, were called for to protect his field positions so vulnerable to air raids. This led to Order nr.14 being issued on 25th August 1942 by General Field-Marshal Gerd Von Rundsted, then Supreme Commander of all German troops on the Western front. It required an impenetrable fortress to be made of the Channel an Atlantic coastlines. This order meant a change of plans inevitable. To make the line impenetrable it needed protection from behind as well as up front.
The implications were the formation of a land-front corresponding to the sea-front, imperative to guarding the emplacements both from parachute attack behind lines and pincer attack movements. Tank traps were laid out with walls, dragons teeth , moats and canals were dug as water obstacles.
The expansion of the Sea-front with a land-front called for a further integration within and around the new and existing defences like the radar and airfield bases. This led to the creation of so-called Stutzpunktgruppen. The defence concept required far reaching cooperation between three military services Kreigsmarine, Heer and Luftwaffe.
e) Rommel (Phase 4)
Proactive defence and layered defence lines (late 1943-1944)
Late 1943 field-marshal Erwin Rommel further changed matters as Hitler's inspector of the Atlantikwall. He was of the opinion that an invasion attack should be destroyed at sea and in extreme circumstances on the beaches and that the Wehrmacht was unable to defeat the enemy should they be able to make a bridgehead and break out. Rommel ordered in early 1944 that placement of submerged obstacles and huge numbers of pikes buried at an angle rigged with steel cables and tipped with mines.
He recognized from previous encounters at the front, the increasing risk of allied airborne landings. To counter this danger and protect the rear of the coastal defences, Rommel ordered the existing Landfront and the hinterland expanded. Low lying areas were flooded, Rommel had additional minefields laid, earthworks and obstacles placed.
3. The Atlantikwall as phenomenon
The remains of the Atlantikwall are like war-scars. There are very few visible signs of the German occupation along our coastline. This realisation over the last few years has altered our appreciation of the Atlantikwall. The remains are protected cultural heritage sites.
For current and future stewardship of the Atlantikwall it is therefore important to gain insight into the nature of the defence line, for making balanced interpretations about the significance of (elements of) the Atlantikwall.
The Atlantikwall can be viewed in several different ways:
- a military defence concept, based on a line;
- a discernible, physical infrastructure, mostly near or along the coastline.
- a largely standardized fortifications.
- An integrated defence system.
- a propaganda slogan
a) The Atlantikwall as defence concept
The Atlantikwall Neue Westwall built upon earlier German defence concepts based on lines, like the Ostwall and Westwall. The big difference to these lines is that Atlantikwall wasn't built from one set of blueprints, but under influences of dynamic warfare and military strategy decision making it evolved from 1941 into an integrated defence system encompassing any existing coastguard elements along the West European Coast.
b) The Atlantikwall as physical infrastructure
The German coastal defences that were established in 1940 were primarily aimed at the prevention and repulsion of enemy air and sea attacks. Originally comprised of varying artillery batteries located around harbours and along the coast. Around all these points and at spots in between, they built U-Boot Bunkers (Unterseeboot, Underwater boat / submarine), and S-Boot-Bunkers (Schnellboot, Speedboat / motor torpedo boat), anti-aircraft positions and radar installations were built. These objects and complexes lay within the same are of the defence line we now call the Atlantikwall, whereas they were never formally a part of it. Their presence born of tactical considerations meant they were simply included in the defences as much for their own protection as the added bonus they leant the Atlantikwall itself.
Résumé: The Atlantikwall exists as physical coastal defence structures consisting of individual objects and ensembles into which military objects have been integrated regardless of their own function. These objects continue to be seen as part of the Atlantikwall, even if strictly speaking this is not the case.
c) The Atlantikwall as defence system
The coastal defence could not function without the headquarters inland, in command and responsible for logistic support, communication and supply routes, etc. The so called fall-back emplacements, inundation zones and other barriers further inland are all part of the system. The give the depth and strength to the Atlantikwall.
Résumé: The evolving German coastal defence concept determined the eventual shape and size of the physical infrastructure of the Atlantikwall. The dedicated organisation, management and support made the Atlantikwall the functioning defence system it was.
d) The standardized fortification concept
The standardized fortification concept can be found in:
- the central management building the Atlantikwall and hierarchy within defence bases according to category: Widerstandsnest, Stützpunkt, Stützpunktgruppe and Verteidigungsbereich (Festung);
- the standardisation of bunkers and objects: Ständiger Bau, Küver, Verstärkt Feldmässig, Sonderkonstruktionen, etc.;
In German sources the line was also referred to as “Perlen am Perlenschnur” describing the strongholds as pearls with in between the “freie Küste” the coastline as the necklace.
e) The Atlantikwall as propaganda slogan.
The war reports, newspapers and magazines created an image of the Atlantikwall as an impervious wall making “Festung Europa” impregnable. This propaganda message would put the German people at ease, keep the soldiers' moral high, suppress the occupied territory whilst discourage and demoralise the enemy.
4. Defining the Atlantikwall
Based on the previous analysis it possible to define, depending on the chosen perspective, what the scope is of the Atlantikwall, and which objects and defensive works can be included.
The physical borders of the Atlantikwall comprise:
- The outer borders of the fortifications and bunker complexes (Widerstandsnest, Stützpunkt), or combination of bunker complexes (Stützpunktgruppe, Verteidigungsbereich, Festung) both Seafront and Landfront as established by the Wehrmacht as coastguard;
- The stretches of coast between the various Stützpunktgruppen and Vertriedungsbereiche (Festung) with a variable depth of several kilometers land inwards.
b) Defence system
The elements that make up the Atlantikwall defence system also include all the hinterland units, positions and headquarters of the coastal defence forces. The length of the Atlantikwall stretches some 6200 kilometers, measured straight along the coast ignoring coves and fjords from the Norwegian-Russian frontier to the Franco-Spanish border, including the Channel Islands.
Huber, T. (2003). Der Atlantikwall 1940-1945. Die Befestigung de Küsten West- und Nordeuropas im Spannungsfeld nationalsozialistischer Kreigführung und Ideologie.
Molt, A. (1993). Der Deutsche Festungbau von der Memel zum Atlantik. Fetungpioniere, Ingenieurkorps, Pioniertruppe 1900-1945.
Rolf, R. (2014). Atlantikwall. Batteries and Bunkers.
Den Haag, 22 February 2016,
2. ACTIVITIES REPORTS (2014-2015)
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
on the period October 1st, 2014 to October 1st, 2015
On October 17th, 2014 the IFC held its General Assembly in Portsmouth (UK). The member organisations except one were present or represented. The Fortress Study group hosted the conference, that was preceded by a walk through Portsmouth and followed by a visit of Fort Nelson. At night the traditional Nelson’s Trafalgar dinner was attended. The day after the conference, the delegates also made a tour of coastal defences around Portsmouth.
The President of IFC, Mr Luc Fellay, was at the end of his term as President. Mrs Andrea Theissen was appointed by the General Assembly as new President of IFC. Mr Luc Fellay was appointed Vice-President. Mrs Andrea Theissen expressed the gratitude of the IFC for all the work that Mr Fellay has done. Mr Fellay said, he looks back at a good period.
The General Assembly agreed to grant the ‘observer status’ to potential new (non-voting or full-voting) members, free of charge for a certain short period.
Mr Maurice Lovisa (ASMEM) and Mrs Marie Pierdait Fillie (Association Vauban) were invited to form the new management team of the Multilingual Fortification Dictionary. Mr Carlos Scheltema will remain (advising) member of the working group. Mr Jeroen van der Werf (Menno van Coehoorn) will assist the management team.
Mr Carlos Scheltema has been conferred Honorary Membership of ICOMOS for his contribution to the life of ICOMOS and his distinguished service in the field of conservation, restoration and enhancement of historical monuments, sites and groups of buildings. This news was put on the IFC website.
Mr. Terry McGovern, Coastal Defence Study Group sent out the Quarterly IFC/CDSG Fortification Calendar in Excel, PDF and Word formats. It has been a matter of continuing concern for him and for the IFC members that contribute their programs to keep this quarterly complete and up-to-date. The data can be found on IFC’s website (www.internationalfortresscouncil.org under Calendar).
The IFC is included in the Yearbook of International Organisations, at www.uia.org/db.
The Executive Council of the IFC convened in Festung Spandau (Germany) in April, 2015. Amongst many other items, the Executive Board discussed the road ahead for the MLFD, especially concerning the time periods that could be covered. Up till now the emphasis has been on 16th and 17th century fortifications. Mr Maurice Lovisa and Mrs Marie Pierdait Fillie were asked to make a working plan, which could be presented at the General Assembly in Antwerp, October 2015.
The Castle of Bazoches (France) had the honor and privilege to have been chosen to represent the Burgundy region as part of its program "preferred French monument - Edition 2015".
Also, to be possibly declared "Monument favorite French 2015".
The City of Briançon (France) is on the most endangered list. Everybody is aware of the fact that restauration works should take place but there are not enough funds. There have been talks with investors but none of them were interested in investing in such a large project.
Organisations involved are Reseau Vauban, Association Vauban and the city of Briançon.
The FSG asked for support to promote the FSG in the digital environment. Although there is a web page for many years, the FSG have recently got onto Twitter and Facebook.
Their request is for help in promoting the FSG Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Fortressstudygroup?ref=bookmarks. This should not be confused the Wikipedia Facebook page. Any support would be welcome, but if members could go onto the page and LIKE it that will improve the standing of the FSG ‘in digitalibus’.
The IFC was approached with concerns about an important archeological site in the city of Turin (Italy) that risks to be destroyed to build an underground parking. The threat is related to important underground fortifications built in the XVII century. In 1564, the Savoy family started works to build a fortification to protect the city of Turin. The fortress included a dense networks of pedestrian tunnels and on the whole the fortress was so impressive that Napoleon, who decided to destroy the walls of the City, ordered to save part of the fortress. Today, part of pedestrian tunnels of the XVII century have been discovered during works to build an underground parking, but Municipality of Turin seems to not want to save the archeological site.
The IFC was approached about the bastion wall angles of the fortifications surrounding Valletta in Malta. They were designed by Italian architect Francesco Laparelli, assisted by Girolamo Cassar. Work is under way for a proposal for a monument to commemorate 450 years since the first stone was laid in Valletta. The proposal could incorporate facets with the same vertical angle of the bastions.
Although the IFC-members are in many ways involved in ICOMOS/ICOFORT matters, the IFC has not been active in this field. The same goes for Europa Nostra.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
on the period October 1st, 2013 to October 1st, 2014
On October 18th, 2013 the IFC held its General Assembly in Utrecht (NL). All member organisations were present or represented. The Menno van Coehoorn Foundation hosted the conference, that was preceded by a tour of the City of Utrecht. The day after the conference, the delegates also made a tour of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie.
The General Assembly appointed Mr Bassett (FSG) as member of the Executive Board. The (second) terms of both President and Vice-President will end in 2014. Mrs Andrea Theissen accepts the nomination as a candidate for President of the IFC in 2014.
The assembly agreed to limit the number of delegates from ‘non-voting members’ to one person. The minimal fee for ‘non-voting members’ is set ad € 50, - per annum. The organisation ECCOFORT does not meet the criteria for a ‘non-voting member’.
The Multilingual Fortification Dictionary was originally limited to the bastion-system. Attention can now be paid to the previous and later periods. Some terms cannot be made visible in a picture, like ‘attack’, ‘defend, ‘’besiege’. The dictionary is open to the public.
Mr. Terry McGovern, Coastal Defence Study Group sent out the Quarterly IFC/CDSG Fortification Calendar in Excel, PDF and Word formats. It has been a matter of continuing concern for him and for the IFC members that contribute their programs to keep this quarterly complete and up-to-date.
The IFC is included in the Yearbook of International Organisations, at www.uia.org/db.
FINANCIAL REPORT IFC 2013-2014
Realization 2013-2014 In (in €) Out (in €) Estimated
Balance deficit 30-9-2013 - 5,56
Contributions 1.300 ** 1.300,--
Costs of website (improvements) ----- 400,-
Costs of secretariat 193,45 )
Costs of banking 4,71 ) 200,--
Chamber of commerce (paid by MvC) ) Hosting site (1-10-2013 - 30-9-2014) 609,84 600,--
Not forseen ----- 94,44
Balance surplus 30-9-2014 (after **) 289,47
** SSV and NUF did not yet pay there contributions 2012-2013 + 2013-2014.
AV did not yet pay 2013-2014 (total € 258,-)
Budget-estimate 2014-2015 with CDSG
Costs of secretariat (incl. small costs) 200,--
Hosting site (incl. MFD)(1-10-2014 – 30-9-2015) 610,--
Provision replacement website (in 5 years) 500,--
Not foreseen 79,47
Surplus 30-9-2014 -/- 289,47 Total funding needed 1.300,--
Proposal 2014-2015 (in Euro)
Belgium, Simon Stevin VVC 3,62 % 45,--
Croatia, NUF 0,44 % 35,-- (min.)
Czech Republic, CAMH 1,61 % 35,-- (min.)
France, Association Vauban 7,83 % 98,--
Germany, DGF 8,67 % 109,--
Luxemburg, FFGL 6 % 75,--
Netherlands, MvC 35,5 % 447,--
Switzerland, ASMEM 3 % 38,--
United Kingdom, FSG 22,83 % 286,--
USA, CDSG 10,5 % 132,--
Total 100 % Total 1.300,--
3. ACTIVITIES REPORTS (2013-2014) FROM IFC-MEMBERS
COAST DEFENSE STUDY GROUP
FORTRESS STUDY GROUP
The Activities of the CAMH in 2013:
- 151 members, 150 from the Czech Republic and one from Germany. Continuous cooperation with several regional societies in the Czech Republic.
- Two gatherings - in May a visit to the light fortifications from the years 1937-1938 in Southern Bohemia and, in November a meeting in Prague.
- Three volumes of our Magazine: OIN.
- Three trips to: Alsace, Sicily and Denmark.
Prospects for 2014:
- Two gatherings – in May in Northern Bohemia visiting the heavy fortifications from the years 1937-1938, in November a meeting in Prague.
- Planned trips:
- June 2014: Menorca
- August 2014: Maginot Line in the Alps
- Expected publications: Artillery and Fortifications 1867-1918
In the year 2012.- 2013. NUF was active in several fields.
Our membership is stabile. Now there are around 50 active members in NUF Pula, and some 25 in Zagreb - with Karlovac, Slavonski Brod, Koprivnica ... members.
There are some six meetings of our members per year. Generally they are held in Zagreb.
On invitation from Ministry of Culture NUF had organised international expert meeting about fortifications of Pula navy harbour .It was autumn 2012. Ministry of Defence and of Interior Affairs have also taken parts in organisation. There was meeting of members in Zagreb, than three days around Pula. Visiting many of forts and having working mornings with discussions on options for conservation and reuse. Main foreign experts were Dr. H-R Neumann -ECCOFORT and arch John Harris -FSG,FORT. Others were Mario Werhas from Croatian Military Museum, Zlatko Uzelac from Ministry of Culture, Stjepan Lončarić and dr. Vesna Balta from NUF, ing Hartmut Roeder from ECCOFORT...
There were talks with local politicians about this matter. There are written reports from main participants.
Due to this initiative NUF member Andelko Hundic, working for Croatian television, is now very active on documentary film on Pula fortresses. Film will be finished till the end of this year.
In 2012. NUF had begun to cooperate with University of Pula on EU Project Adrifort, which is leaded by Italian region Veneto. On September 15.-19. Hundić, Lončarić, Werhas, Purić and H-R Neumann were active on this meeting. There was two pages interview with Dr. Neumann in local newspapers about possibility of meeting UNESCO WHL criteria as part of "serial" nomination. Contacts with local politicians, civil sector, and Austrian heritage focused n.g.o.-s of highest rank...
NUF Pula, with Mr. Zlatko Devedžić as chairman is always doing great job, on so many objects in their part. Thanks to them, and wishing better days. NUF Pula had moved focus to fortified heritage from after WW2. , concrete structures.
National ICOMOS. Icofort.
Through last year there was stronger initiative to start Icofort Croatia, from NUF. There are members of ICOMOS Croatia, wishing to be members of national Icofort. President of national ICOMOS had took duty to send appropriate letter to head of Icofort international, Mrs. Milagros Flores-Roman, USA.
There were changes in Croatian government, very important to NUF. Despite fact that our founding member Mr Zlatko Uzelac is not any more deputy minister of culture, NUF had succeed to have workable communication with this and other ministries, i.e. defence, tourism sector.
There was also very interesting communication with "Association of Dubrovnik heritage friends". It is connected wit Ston walls fortification system from 14.-15. Ct.
Stjepan Lončarić , N.U.F., president
STICHTING MENNO VAN COEHOORN
Stichting Menno van Coehoorn ( 1-10-2013 / 30-9-2014)
We organised six excursions with - in average- some 50 persons.
The number of members is slightly falling (ca. 1040). The number of active members is constant (ca. 120).
Four issues of Saillant.
The work on our documentation centre is still making good progress. The main point still is the digitalisation of all images, maps etc... and disclosure of that information by internet. All books and articles can be found now in the on-line-catalogue and all photo’s are now are “on-line” available. About 70% of all maps, plans and drawings are ready. We hope to complete this job by end 2015.
We renewed our website and completed it by a module “database defence-works” in which the data of all NL (former) defence-works will be shown.
It will cost us several years to fill this database.
Our study about the Old Dutch Waterline (end 2016?) is still ongoing.
A new law on the protection of WH-areas has been introduced, so also the surroundings of national monuments can be protected now .
The nomination as World Heritage of the New Dutch Waterline is making good progress.
(1st October 2013 – 30th September 2014)
President Alain MONFERRAND
Number of members: 244 (AG De Besancon)
· Oisivetés: “ La Lettre des Oisivetés” 2013
· Dossier for the annual congress in Besancon
· Dossier for the study tour in Italy: «VENETIAN FORTIFICATIONS”
MARCH 27th – VAUBAN MEMORIAL DAY.
This annual ceremony was held at the Royal Chapel of the Dome des Invalides in Paris, Alain Monferrand presiding. Among the persons present were General STEPHAN, Head executive engineer of French Military Infrastructures, General VITRY Association VAUBAN Vice-President, several of Marshal de Vauban’s family members, the board of the Association VAUBAN, the Fellow members of “the CHOQUET DE LINDU class” of military engineers for infrastructures (IMI) and numerous visitors of the Royal Chapel.
APRIL: THE ASSOCIATION OBTAINS THE GENERAL INTEREST STATUT:
The French authorities regard the Association Vauban as an organisation of general public interest because of its role in the fields of culture and history. In doing so, the membership fee is deductible. This decision was made on April 17th.
MAY–ANNUAL CONGRESS- BESANÇON and SURROUNDING DEFENCES
The Congress commemorated the Siege of Besancon, by Vauban, that took place in May 1674, in the presence of Louis XIV.
ITINERARY: the Citadel of Besançon (UNESCO World Hertitage), Cluse de Pontarlier, Fort de Joux, Larmont, Fort Belin, Fort Saint André, Auxonne and Dôle. The conference was dedicated to the Franche-Comte becoming part of France after the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678. The program included Swiss humanitarian assistance during the French retreat in 187I and 1940 as well.
MAY—HISTORICAL EVENTS- Contributions
SULLY SUR LOIRE-Heures historiques – (First and second world war)
BRIENNE LE CHATEAU – Journées napoléonniennes.
JULY 18th – ANGERS (FR) - New Infrastructures class “SERRE DE RIVIERE” at IMI (military engineers for infrastructures)
During the inauguration of the new class for engineers of military infrastructure “SERRE DE RIVIERE” at IMI, Colonel ORTHOLAN, member of the Association Vauban, held a presentation on Serre de Rivieres.
This military engineer, described as the Vauban of the 19th century, constructed several systems of fortifications after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
He brought the new concept using detached forts as a continuous line of fire. It was applied at Toulon, Nice, Metz, Lyon and along France’s eastern border.
SEPTEMBER – ANNUAL STUDY TOUR in ITALY: the FORTIFICATIONS of Venice and its surroundings
ITINERARY: the Arsenal of Venice, the fortifications of the lagoon, Palmanova (a concentric shaped town similar to « Neuf-Brisach ») the fortifications of Tagliamento (once defending the Hungary-Austrian border) the fortifications of the Col de Tarvis and Isonzo valley, First world war battle grounds
(Gorizia and Udin, Vallo Alpino rehabilited by NATO operational up to 2000)
The new web site was launched end of December.
ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL: The Association Vauban keeps collaborating with ICOMOS FRANCE. In particular with regard to the World Heritage:
- Limitations to historic territory: new rules for feasibility
- Meeting in Utrecht in November regarding the Waterline candidature
- Reflections on new ways of restauration with regard to re-use and new energy
Association Saint-Maurice d’Etudes Militaires (ASMEM)
Annual Report (November 2012- October 2013) of Association
Saint-Maurice d’Etudes Militaires (ASMEM) for the General
Assembly of the International Fortress Council - October 18th 2013
- Saturday 9 March 2013, Reuenthal Museum visit
- Saturday 21 September – Savatan - 100th anniversary commemoration of the Swiss french society of fortification troups (STFSR) with presentation of a special edited book from ASMEM with STFSR (see below)
- 12 to 16 September 2013 fortifications of Denmark – Oresund
- 19 to 22 September Swiss fortifications (St. Gothard & Sargans) organised for Association Vauban
- 2014 : Vietnam (March - April )
- 2014 : Maginot Line (18 to 22 September)
- ASMEM-Bulletin 2012
- Histoire des Troupes de Forteresse de la Suisse Romande (STFSR) ;Delévaux, P.
Case postale 25
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Festungsforschung
Oktober 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014
1. Annual conference 2014 in Köln
2. Further conference 2014 in Schwerin
3. Publication of the fifth and sixth book of the series
4. Publication of the series „Fortifications in Germany“
7. Number of members
SIMON STEVIN (BELGIUM)
Simon Stevin V.V.C. Activity report 2012 – Q3 2013
Contribution to the General Assembly IFC – Utrecht 2013
During the period 2012 – Q3 2013 Simon Stevin developed intensively a range of initiatives in
various fortified heritage related domains. The number of projects we initiated or on which we
participated increased in a significant way.
1. New online presence www.simonstevin.org
The website is actuality-oriented and brings in a systematic way news and activities.
Subscribers get the free e-newsletter Vesting Flash, which links to the website.
Online presence is supported with a Facebook page www.facebook.com/simonstevinorg
Step by step the number of visitors increases, reaching > 1.000 unique visitors / month. The enewsletter
and facebook page work viral, empowering growth of the online Simon Stevin V.V.C.
community. Online presence becomes a key success tool in promoting our activities.
2. Programm 100 years Great War
Next year, in the perspective of remembering 100 years Great War represents an ideal opportunity
to launch a rich program putting the fortifications in evidence towards the public.
We teamed up with a set of strategic partners to roll-out a mass audience oriented program,
· A large exhibition during 3 months in the center of Antwerp
· An interactive web section with a calendar of acitivities, information downloads, etc.
· An educational program for schools with information on the role of the fortifications during
WW1, combined with visits to the related sites.
· Fortification day in Fort Liezele, with living history groups demonstrating the mobilization of
1914, an exhibition and an information fair.
· Publication of a book about the role of the fortifications at WWI, illustrated with many
unique historical pictures and documents.
· Photography contest : Fortifications today.
· 3 special theme editions of our publication Vesting, in full colour
· Special 1914-manual for guides in fortifications.
· Helpdesk for authors of publications and media formats in search for information about the
fortresses in WW I
3. Simon Stevin Archive
Project planning and budgetting to unlock the archive in a digital way based on key words.
Goal : operational in 2015
Our archive room was renamed solemnly in “Zaal de Hasque”, a pioneer of Simon Stevin
According our new management vision, the workgroup Archive will be enforced with 3 new
volunteers, experienced in the domains of fortification and archive organization.
A set of valuable books, documents and plans will be digitalized, in order to reduce physical
4. Publication Vesting
The publication appeared 4 times during 2012 and 3 times during 2013, representing >130 puages of
fortification know-how. Articles covered Fort Pannerden, guntowers, Bruly-de-Pêches, Hitlers HQ in
Belgium, Bourtange, Steendorp, Rocroi, the Red fortress of Agra, etc.
Publication WMF-NEWS (workgroup Modern Fortifications)
The publication appeared 3 x, covering Musée Historique 39-45 Ambleteuse, the Antwerp-Turnhout
Stellung – Fortification Day 2012, Spotlight on museums, Eastern Front “Sapun Gora”, the New
Bastogne Ardennes 44-Museum.
5. Other publications
- Book “Fort Stabroek van de Vesting Antwerpen” (Simon Devos - R. Gils)
- Book "De Anti-tankgracht van de Vesting Antwerpen" (G. Melis - R. Gils)
- Box “Belevingsbox Antitankgracht” (Cooperation with Toerisme Provincie Antwerpen)
6. Various Projects
Dendermonde Hollandse Kazerne
The Holland barracks are in bad shape. The city of Dedermonde looks for funding to conserve and
restaure the historical building. Simon Stevin assists and cooperates by means of the local
correspondents. A public support website with petition was activated and promoted.
Bike Tour Antwerp Fortification Belt 2012 and 2013
Twice this initiative was helt. Simon Stevin organizes guided tours in the related fortifications and
addresses in this way thousands of interested visitors.
Actually we are in the planning phase of Bike Tour Antwerp Fortification Belt 2014
Fortification course for nature guides in fortifications.
In cooperation with the Center for Nature and Environmental education, we organized a course on
fortification for nature guides. A number of fortifications are managed as nature reserves. The
guides are often skilled in the nature facets, but lack the knowledge on fortified heritage. This course
bridges the gap and was very successful. The program will be continued.
Antwerp Culture market 2012 – 2013
We participated twice on this event, focussing on everyone who is intrested in culture in the largest
means. The complete center of Antwerp is turned into one big fair. We participate with a stand and
can count on enthousiast response. Focus of the stand is stimulating awareness on the rich fortified
heritage in Flanders, and offering concrete arrangements s.a. visits and guided tours.
Expertgroup Spanish Ramparts
Simon stevin participates in the expert group to upgrade and unlock the remains of the Spanish
Ramparts in Antwerp/
The Zimmermann project is a study, based on historical German air photos WW1 of the fortifications
(bunkerline, fortresses and tranches) in the north of Antwerp.
We contribute to articles and publications about this bunker line in the North of Antwerp and the
Parts of this bunker line (Mastenbos) are in a limited way open for the public based on guided tours.
7. Zoutleeuw Citadel
We assist in the preparatory research to evaluate the heritage potential of the remains of the Citadel
8. Simon Stevin Award 2012
The award was offered to the community of Puurs for their structural and consistent support since
many years, resulting in Fort Liezele to be considered as the best preserved and restaured
fortification of the Antwerp fortress Belt.
9. Fortification Day 2012
The fortification day was helt in the Fort of Stabroek, welcomming more then 600 enthousiast
10. Visits and guided tours.
For our members, following visits were organized : Fort 7 Antwerp, Westwall-Hürtgenwald Germany,
Fort Aubin Neufchateau (Belgium), Bois-du-Four and Latiremont (Maginot), fort Embourg (Liège
Additionaly, 15 specialised visits and explorations in small groups were organized. For third parties,
we delivered 3 guided tours : Fort 5 Edegem Antwerp, Turnhout and Oostende.
11. Legal protection
Turnhout bunker 99 (period WW1) : The bunker was protected and equipped with an information
Kruibeke open battery : foundation of German open battery 1917 : Inventarisation and starting of
legal protection procedure.
WW1 bunkers Beerse : Information session together with Province of Antwerp, visit and
inventarisation in the perspective of a legal protection procedure.
Liezele : the bunkers in the neighbourhood of the fortress are under supervision of the fortress
Chairman Simon Stevin V.V.C.